Stories for February 2012

Wednesday, February 29

Edison Moves to Loss on Power Plant Charges

Edison International reported a fourth-quarter loss, as the electric utility took more than $1 billion in impairment charges related to power stations at its Edison Mission Energy unit.

Activision Blizzard to Cut 600 Jobs

Santa Monica video game publisher Activision Blizzard Inc. on Wednesday said that it is cutting 600 jobs globally from its Irvine-based Blizzard Entertainment unit.

DreamWorks Shares Slide on Disappointing Quarter, Outlook

DreamWorks Animation SKG Inc. shares fell nearly 11 percent Wednesday morning after the film studio reported fourth quarter profit below Wall Street’s expectations, and warned that higher costs on its next two releases could affect this year’s results.

Tuesday, February 28

Long Beach Living Wage Measure Scaled Back

Backers of a living wage ballot measure to benefit hospitality workers in Long Beach have scaled back their initiative to only include workers at the city’s largest hotels.

Cadiz Prepares to Raise Funds for Water Project

Cadiz Inc., the Los Angeles company trying to develop a water storage project in the Mojave Desert, announced it has retained investment bank Hannon Armstrong Securities LLC of Annapolis, Md. to lead the estimated $225 million construction financing effort.

NantWorks Acquires Boston Life Labs

NantWorks LLC has acquired an Arizona company that specializes in the remote monitoring of a patient’s vital signs and other medical data.

Monday, February 27

LAX Traffic Continues Recovery Despite Air Cargo Decline

Los Angeles International Airport started off the year the way 2011 ended: passenger traffic was up but air cargo volume declined, according to airport officials.

Teledyne Makes Canadian Acquisition

Teledyne Technologies Inc. said that it intends to acquire VariSystems Inc., a Canadian maker of components used in mining, energy and other natural resources industries.

Special Present for Jazz Singer


Sydney Weisman is known to the L.A. business community as a publicist, but her family knows her as an avid singer who performs at the Farmer’s Market Thursday Night Jazz events and the like.

News of the Week

News of the Week

USC Business Grads Find Success With Search Fund

Duo raised money to hunt for and acquire existing company.

USC grads have found takers for their search fund set up to purchase an existing business.

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Superdock Is the Best Way to Save the Day at the Port of L.A.


Richard Risemberg hopes to make a splash at the ports with a proposal for a vertically stacked Superdock.

Fully Baked Idea

Mother-daughter team adds prepared product to healthy mixes.

Healthy cookie company May whips up fully baked products to go along with its mixes.

Calendar & Events


Regional Reports

Regional Reports

National Geographic Seeks Help in Hollywood Jungle

Movie unit folded into industry vet Ashok Amritraj’s Hyde Park.

National Geographic’s movie division enlists Hollywood veteran to tame box office.

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Hanger Makers Swing in Wind?

U.S. mulls tariffs for Asian rivals.

Local hanger makers are bent out of shape over allegedly unfair competition from Asian rivals.

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Downtown L.A. Greets Wal-Mart

Retailer’s grocery a first for L.A. County.

Downtown L.A. bags Wal-Mart’s first grocery in county.

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Snowless Resorts Could Use a Lift

L.A.’s warm winter has chilled business for area ski resorts.

No Snow Woes

Warm season chills ski shop sales

Winter sales season has been anything but hot for local overstocked sporting good retailers.

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Not Loafing It

Cooks, state lawmaker turn up heat on county’s laws against commercial sale of home-baked bread and other goods.

Entrepreneurial cooks are finding county ban on selling home-baked goods tough to stomach.

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Wall Street Doesn’t Really Dig Seeds for Ethanol

Ceres’ public launch opens at $14.50 after delay, price cut.

Maker of seeds for ethanol production fails to reap Wall Street bounty with IPO.

Nutritional Supplement Maker Flexes Its Muscles

Revenue, earnings growth spur Herbalife to raise guidance.

Strong fourth quarter and annual results provided a healthy boost to shares of nutritional supplement maker Herbalife.

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Too Small to Succeed


Charles Crumpley says it’s time to pucker up because we’ll be kissing many of our small banks goodbye.

Backing Away From Leadership?

OP-ED: The world needs women too much for them to hit the snooze button as they seek flexibility in their lives.

Before passing the torch, Jane Wurwand hopes to light a fire under the next generation of businesswomen.

Social Video Game Maker Says Its Last Goodbye

Meteor fails to survive impact from dearth of hit properties.

Video game maker Meteor craters after failing to score with its social network offerings.

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L.A. Port Gets Payback in Clean Truck Program

TRADE & TRANSPORT: Company Swift returns $4 million but rival rips ‘interest-free loan.’

The Port of Los Angeles will get back $4 million of the nearly $12 million it gave to Swift Transportation Co. Inc. in 2008 to help buy new trucks – a deal other port trucking companies are calling a giveaway of public funds.

Camera Maker Has New Takes on Action Scenes

MEDIA & ENTERTAINMENT: Radiant Images crafts special equipment to capture odd angles.

With digital filming the new norm for action flicks, Michael Mansouri has found an opportunity to build and rent custom rigs for directors experimenting with filming techniques.

Rumor Is Celebrity Gossip Website to Relocate

REAL ESTATE: TMZ may ditch West Hollywood digs for space in Playa Vista.

Celebrity gossip website may be relocating to Playa Vista from West Hollywood at the end of the year.

Stuck on Your Swing?

Stickers put on top of club heads offer tips to improve game.

Marketing firm Bilmba joins the golf game with stickers aimed at improving swings.

Preserving Virtual Legacy

New service manages departed’s web assets such as Facebook page.

LegalZoom’s new service helps manage web content of the departed.

Friday, February 24

Wal-Mart to Put Grocery in Downtown L.A.

Wal-Mart Stores Inc. has signed a lease to open its first grocery in Los Angeles County and its first store of any kind downtown.

The Week’s Big Movers

The Business Journal’s index of largest local public companies closed down slightly for the week as local companies reported mixed quarterly financial reports.

Ad Sales Boost Crown Media’s Quarter

Crown Media Holdings Inc.’s profit soared 60 percent in the fourth quarter as the cable TV company benefited from greater interest in its family-friendly programming during the holidays.

Thursday, February 23

Long Beach Voters Could See 'Living Wage' Measure

Backers of a living wage measure that would benefit hospitality workers in Long Beach launched a campaign to win a spot on the city’s November ballot.

Live Nation Shrinks Loss, Announces Asian Partnership

Live Nation Entertainment Inc. achieved a smaller loss in the fourth quarter as the world’s largest ticket seller benefited from increased online sales which offset the impact of the NBA lock-out.

CyberDefender Files Chapter 11, To Sell to Guthy-Renker

CyberDefender Corp., which provides computer technical support and security services, on Thursday filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection and said it plans to sell most of its assets to a unit of infomercial marketer Guthy-Renker Corp.

United Online’s Mixed Quarter Dampened by Outlook

United Online Inc. shares fell nearly 9 percent early Thursday after the online services company reported mixed fourth quarter results and gave a cautious revenue forecast for the current quarter.

Wednesday, February 22

Ceres Stock Rises on First Day of Trading

After nearly a two-week delay from their expected launch, shares of agricultural biotech Ceres Inc. began trading on Wednesday following an initial public offering that raised about $65 million.

Herbalife Finishes Strong in Fourth Quarter

Herbalife Ltd. shares gained 7 percent on Wednesday after the nutritional supplement company reported better-than-expected fourth quarter results, driven by double-digit sales volume growth around the world.

Cheesecake Factory Shares Fall on Cautious Outlook

Cheesecake Factory Inc. shares dropped 7 percent Wednesday morning after the casual dining chain reported a better-than-expected fourth quarter but provided a disappointing earnings forecast for this year.

Tuesday, February 21

Disappointing Holiday Sales Increase Jakk’s Loss

Jakks Pacific Inc. reported a slightly larger-than-expected fourth-quarter loss, but shares actually closed up slightly on Tuesday as the toymaker’s revenue beat Wall Street forecasts.

Grubb & Ellis to Sell Assets to Competitor

Southern California commercial real estate brokerage Grubb & Ellis Co. said it will sell its assets to the New York parent of Newmark Knight Frank as part of a prepackaged bankruptcy

Molina Healthcare Loses Missouri Contract

Molina Healthcare Inc. shares fell Tuesday after the Medicaid managed care provider said it had lost a key contract in Missouri, and thus was lowering its full-year earnings guidance.

Korn/Ferry Gets New CFO

Staffing company Korn/Ferry International said that its chief financial officer was leaving and a replacement has been appointed.

Monday, February 20

Amgen to Collaborate with Danish Diagnostics Firm

Dako, a cancer diagnostic supplier based in Denmark, has entered into a collaboration agreement with Amgen Inc. to develop a test for an experimental Amgen cancer drug.

Inglewood Speaks Up for Forum Deal

City to give sports venue suitor $18 million.

Inglewood steps in with loan to help Madison Square Garden score purchase of the Forum.

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‘Sneak Peek’ at the Future


Business Journal turns the spotlight on 10 local women executives who shine in the financial industry.

Savings Grace

Goodwill leads fight to allow thrift shops in unincorporated L.A. County.

Goodwill looks to shelve county zoning ban on opening thrift stores in unincorporated areas.

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Networking Site Thinks It Has Preteens’ Number

Kidsocial to rely on virtual payment systems instead of advertising.

Networking site Kidsocial hopes to click with preteens while offering virtual payment systems to users and their parents.

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Restaurant Buyer Hopes Hot Economy Is on Menu

Santa Monica firm counting on less debt to revive El Torito parent.

New owners of bankrupt Mexican restaurant operator hope to feast on reviving economy and lower debt.

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Cardiologist Puts Heart Into Shirts

Placement at luxury retailers nurses sales of doctor’s dressy line.

Cardiologist Dr. Roderick Tung has checked into high fashion with a line of upscale sport shirts.

Small Banks Size Up Merger Deals

Rising regulation costs spur unions with big peers.

Rising costs from all the new regulations are spurring smaller institutions to pursue unions with bigger banks.

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Developer Scales Massive Project In Boyle Heights

Miami’s Fifteen Group homes in on L.A.’s Boyle Heights for a huge residential project.

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Slowing to a Halt


For the past five years, Bianca Vobecky has attended the annual Irwindale Chamber of Commerce silent auction with one goal: put in the winning bid for a season pass to the Toyota Speedway at Irwindale.

Recession-Era Deals Put Brakes on Wheel Maker

Superior’s sales to Big Three up but contracts squeeze profits.

Auto maker deals drafted during the recession are driving down profits for wheel maker Superior.

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L.A.’s Women in Finance


Business Journal turns the spotlight on 10 local women executives who shine in the financial industry.

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Los Angeles County Home Sales for January

January home and condo sales in Los Angeles County by neighborhood.

‘All Sales, All the Time’


Business Journal turns the spotlight on 10 local women executives who shine in the financial industry.

Investor Fleshes Out Issues With Skin Care Business

Voce seeks board makeover at Obagi, calls for company’s sale.

Board makeup has skin care product maker facing shareholder discontent.

Taking Exercise for A Ride

Infomercial producer steps up marketing for elliptical machine.

Infomercial maker takes elliptical riding machine StreetStrider out for a promotional spin.

Show of Strength

NBC Universal parent seeks tax refund on L.A. County property.

NBC Universal parent Comcast produces lawsuit to recover Universal City property taxes.

News of the Week

News of the Week

Calendar & Events


Online Firm Takes Step Back From Domain Names

TECHNOLOGY: Oversee sells auction sites in refocus on performance marketing.

As part of’s shift away from the domain-name business and into online performance marketing, the downtown L.A. company has sold two domain-name auction platforms.

Minnesota Insurer Bonds With L.A. Non-Profits

HEALTH CARE & BIOTECH: Trio shares $23 million in funds from UnitedHealthcare.

UnitedHealthcare recently invested about $23 million in three Los Angeles County health centers to help expand and enhance patient care and services.

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Design of New Headquarters Offers Firm Approval

ADVERTISING & PR: Walls of Inter/Media office mimic soundwave of word ‘yes.’

Direct-response ad agency Inter/Media Group of Cos. has purchased a new headquarters in Woodland Hills and plans to make a statement with an interior remodeling.

Regional Reports

Regional Reports

Navigating Directions at East West Bank


Business Journal turns the spotlight on 10 local women executives who shine in the financial industry.

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Private Equity Pioneer


Business Journal turns the spotlight on 10 local women executives who shine in the financial industry.

Combination of Skills


Business Journal turns the spotlight on 10 local women executives who shine in the financial industry.

‘Raised in the Business’


Business Journal turns the spotlight on 10 local women executives who shine in the financial industry.

Finding Fulfillment


Business Journal turns the spotlight on 10 local women executives who shine in the financial industry.

‘Pretty Intense Work’


Business Journal turns the spotlight on 10 local women executives who shine in the financial industry.

Chinese Connection


Business Journal turns the spotlight on 10 local women executives who shine in the financial industry.

Koreatown Bank Becomes Seoul Interest of Growth

BANKING & FINANCE: Hana of South Korea to acquire 51 percent stake in Saehan.

There could soon be a new entrant into the league of elite Korean-American banks.

Supply Chain Act Will Soak Businesses Like Drinking Water Act


Michael Gorman sees supply chain act draining businesses just like the drinking water act.

Giving Bus Lines Their Fare Share

OP-ED: Time to park bad attitude toward eco-friendly form of transportation that provides social interaction.

Annie Chen, Timothy Lee and Anthony Kennedy urge Angelenos to kick bus riding into a higher gear.

Silly Laws Have Become the Rule


Charles Crumpley discounts the county’s ban on secondhand stores in unincorporated territory.

Buyer Drops In on Apartments After Price Tumbles

REAL ESTATE: Decron pays $56.7 million for one-time condo project.

A 264-unit multifamily complex in Valencia traded hands for $56.7 million this month.

Ad Network Says It Scored Music Website for a Song

BaronsMedia becomes publisher with low-price pickup Hypster.

New owner BaronsMedia looks to tune up revenue at music site Hypster with better ad placement.

El Segundo Shoemaker Sees Larger HQ as Big Step

Matisse says consistent growth spurred relocation into new space.

Growing shoemaker Matisse paints itself out of a corner by moving into bigger space in El Segundo.

Friday, February 17

K-Swiss’ Quarter Disappoints

Shares of K-Swiss Inc. fell more than 10 percent Friday after the casual shoe maker reported a wider fourth quarter loss – despite better-than-expected revenue – and gave a cautious revenue forecast.

Demand Media's Quarter Pleases Investors

Demand Media Inc.'s stock jumped 31 percent on Friday after the online content publisher reported a significantly smaller fourth-quarter loss, suggesting that the company is starting to recover from the decline in traffic that resulted from changes to Google's Internet search formula.

DreamWorks Forms Joint Venture with Chinese Companies

DreamWorks Animation SKG Inc. announced a joint venture with Chinese media and investment partners to create Oriental DreamWorks, a China-focused family entertainment company.

The Week’s Big Movers

The Business Journal’s index of largest local public companies gained slightly for the week, ahead a long holiday weekend, as investors awaited a decision on Greece's bailout plan.

Thursday, February 16

Ricardo Beverly Hills Buys Assets of Skyway Luggage

Ricardo Beverly Hills, one of the nation’s largest luggage companies, has acquired the assets of Skyway Luggage, a well-known brand name that was put into receivership last year.

DirecTV’s Quarterly Profit Grows

DirecTV Group Inc. said its fourth quarter profit rose 16 percent, boosted by subscriber gains.

J2 Global Makes U.K. Acquisition

J2 Global Inc. has acquired Zimo Communications Ltd., a United Kingdom provider of Internet cloud voice services under the Numberstore brand.

Wednesday, February 15

Kodak Gets Judge’s OK to Remove Name from Theater

A U.S. bankruptcy judge in New York has agreed that Eastman Kodak Co. can get out of its $72 million naming deal for Hollywood’s Kodak Theatre.

Port Traffic Up in L.A., Down in Long Beach

The first month of year continued last year’s trends at the county’s two ports, with the Port of Los Angeles again seeing gains and the Port of Long Beach down slightly.

Mixed Quarter for J2 Global

J2 Global Communications Inc., which has been on an acquisition spree to expand its cloud-based tech services, said it increased its fourth quarter profit by 11 percent, although revenue was slightly below Wall Street expectations.

WikiPay to Merge with WikiLoan

Los Angeles peer-to-peer lender WikiLoan Inc. has signed the final merger agreement to acquire WikiPay Inc. and two overseas subsidiaries in a preferred stock deal.

LAEDC Forecast Still Sees Slow Recovery

L.A. County’s economy will continue its slow climb from the recession this year, with the unemployment rate dropping to 11.5 percent, according to a forecast by the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corp.

Tuesday, February 14

LA Public Works Board Endorses Controversial Franchise System

Brushing aside concerns from small private trash haulers, the Los Angeles Board of Public Works has unanimously approved a plan to convert the city’s open competition system for trash collection from commercial and apartment properties to an exclusive franchise system.

On Assignment’s Quarter Beats Forecasts

On Assignment Inc. shares rose 15 percent on Tuesday after the specialty staffing company reported better-than-expected fourth quarter results and provided guidance above analysts’ expectations.

Gores Group Completes European Acquisition

The Gores Group has closed acquisition of the Hay Group, a German maker of forged and machined components used in automobiles and commercial vehicles.

Monday, February 13

Monrovia Property Wins $24 Million Gold Line Settlement

A Monrovia owner of property deemed essential for a Gold Line maintenance yard has settled his legal fight against the light-rail line for $24 million.

Local SEC Head to Retire

Rosalind Ramsey Tyson, director of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission’s Los Angeles Regional Office, will retire at the end of March after 30 years with the regulatory agency.

Raising Bar On Price

State bar study guides to tap law students’ pockets for $1,000.

Bar exam study guide app’s $1,000 price courts lawyer hopefuls with deep pockets.

Startup Looks to Flip Switch on 3-D Re-Releases

MEDIA & ENTERTAINMENT: FilmFunds’ process speeds up, lowers cost of converting 2-D.

After a 3-D re-release of “The Lion King” roared at the box office last year, a pipeline of 3-D theatrical re-releases is in place for this year.

Brief Delay Holding Up New Hires for Law Firm

LAW: Litigation prevents Rutter Hobbs vets from joining Glusker.

After getting hit with a $10 million malpractice verdict stemming from the actions of a retired partner, 30-attorney downtown L.A. law firm Rutter Hobbs & Davidoff LLP dissolved Jan. 31.

Solar Power Company Shines Spotlight on India

Power-One seeks fresh markets after sales cool off in Europe.

Solar company Power-One has turned to India for sales heat to offset a cool-down in European markets.

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L.A. franchise-zone plan could scrap trash haulers

Trash businesses want Los Angeles to throw out plans to create one-hauler franchises across the city.

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Ports Face Drive For More Drivers

Clean air program cleared out pollution, truckers.

Rebounding ports face shortage after clean air programs drove out truckers.

New Wealth Management Firm Targets Top Crust

BANKING & FINANCE: Founder wants to bring institutional service to private clients.

Longtime wealth manager Jonathan Foster last week announced the launch of a firm catering to the investment needs of the area’s richest residents.

Cost of Lost CRA Could Hit Billions

Future of hundreds of projects in doubt.

L.A. projects are left with little to build on after loss of redevelopment dollars.

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Jewelry Maker to Polish Up Downtown L.A. Property

Tarina Tarantino to renovate 1914 building into ‘Sparkle Factory.’

Jewelry designer to build Sparkle Factory HQ in downtown L.A. after taking shine to historic district.

Communication Company Puffs Up Cloud Business

J2 diversifies with pickup of Boston-based software maker Landslide.

Internet communication firm J2 Global adds another line to its cloud business with pickup of customer management company.

Cooks Turn Up Heat on Alma Mater

Graduates claim Le Cordon Bleu doesn’t deliver.

Former cooking students allege that Le Cordon Bleu’s job promises were all sizzle and no steak.

Coffee Wholesaler Switches to New Blended Recipe

Supreme Bean now running coffee shops with Groundwork pickup.

Local coffee company looks to brew up more business from acquired chain of shops.

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Demand Media Still Not Connecting With Investors

Stock price tumbled after departure of trio of executives.

Investors are still clicked off at the exit of a trio of executives from online content creator Demand Media.

Drawing Them In

DreamWorks Animation chief strives to keep studio one of the best places to work.

CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg wants DreamWorks Animation to maintain a small-company feel while producing big-screen hits.

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Hillside Home Op-Ed Wasn’t on the Level


Nickie Miner defends neighbors’ opposition to a massive proposed home in Benedict Canyon.

Firm Still Pumped About Its Polish Gas Prospects

BNK pursues production plan despite test setback, rivals’ struggles.

BNK won’t ease up on the gas in its drive to tap wells in Poland.

Not Afraid To Be Corny

Eco-friendly furniture maker uses plywood made from stalks.

Eco-friendly furniture maker hopes to shuck high prices by using plywood made from corn stalks.

Trash This Dirty Deal


Charles Crumpley calls it a big waste to regulate trash haulers like the airline industry used to be.

Building Buzz With Booze

Pacific Shore looks to bars, parties to promote energy drink additive.

Pacific Shore pursues pour reception at bars and parties for its high-energy drink additive.

Private Placement a Shot in Arm for Biotech Firm

Private equity infusion lifts shares of Response Genetics.

Response Genetics’ private-equity placement has spurred positive feedback from shareholders.

Avoiding Close Calls

OPED: Too casual attitude about using phones to conduct business in public can violate client confidentiality.

Florie Brizel says two bankers made the wrong call by doing business over the phone in public.

Machining Company Makes Tracks Beyond Defense

TRADE & TRANSPORT: Clean Cut looks to carve off piece of high-speed rail business.

Most of the precision-cut bits of metal and plastic made at Clean Cut Machining in Burbank end up inside of helicopters, jet fighters or other fighting machines built by big defense contractors such as Bethesda, Md.’s Lockheed Martin Corp.

Animation Studio Looks to Score With Video Games

DreamWorks eyes kids’ market via licensing deal with publisher D3.

DreamWorks Animation makes play for more revenue with video game licensing deal for upcoming movies.

Another Candle – Every Four Years


Kevin Korenthal, who runs a new public relations company in Santa Clarita, is celebrating his 10th birthday this month.

News of the Week

News of the Week

Smart & Final’s 40-Property Sell-Off Is in the Bag

REAL ESTATE: Three buyers pay $230 million for portfolio of grocery store chain.

Smart & Final Inc. has taken a load off its balance sheet with a $230 million portfolio sale of 40 properties to three separate buyers.

Calendar & Events


Regional Reports

Regional Reports

Friday, February 10

South Korean Bank to Take Majority Stake in Saehan Bancorp

Saehan Bancorp said that Hana Financial Group has agreed to take a 51 percent ownership interest in the Koreatown bank.

Hollywood & Highland Owner Files Objection in Kodak Bankruptcy

CIM/H&H Media LP has filed an objection in U.S. Bankruptcy Court that seeks to block Eastman Kodak Co. from ending its sponsorship agreement at Hollywood and Highland’s Kodak Theatre.

Ceres Delays IPO

Agricultural biotech Ceres Inc., which had planned to raise up to $85 million in an initial public offering this week, has decided to wait until next week according to reports.

The Week’s Big Movers

The Business Journal’s index of largest local public companies made strong gains for a second straight week despite mixed earnings reports.

People’s Liberation to Change Name, Business Model

People’s Liberation Inc. announced that it will change its name and business model in conjunction with a $14.5 million infusion from a private equity firm.

Lions Gate Shares Rise on Film Prospects

Optimism about Lions Gate Entertainment Corp.’s upcoming releases sent its stock up more than 8 percent Friday morning, even though the film studio reported lower fiscal third quarter revenue because of no major releases.

Thursday, February 9

Activision Blizzard Turns To Profit

Despite slightly lower revenue, video game publisher Activision Blizzard Inc. said it shifted to a profit for its fourth quarter, as its latest "Call of Duty" game and other new titles sold well. Adjusted results beat Wall Street expectations.

Ceres Lowers IPO Expectations

Agricultural biotech Ceres Inc. was set to go public today after reducing the estimated price range of its initial public offering of 5 million shares to a range of $16 to $17 each.

Wednesday, February 8 Sells Internet Businesses to European Firm, a Los Angeles domain name and Internet marketing firm, has sold two of its non-core units to KeyDrive S.A., an Internet firm based in Luxembourg.

Guidance Jumps on Earnings, Acquisition

Guidance Software Inc. was the biggest mover Wednesday on the LABJ Stock Index after the company said it swung to a profit in the fourth quarter, announced an acquisition and received an analyst’s upgrade.

Strong Quarter at ValueClick

ValueClick Inc.'s fourth quarter profit jumped nearly 40 percent as the online advertising services provider saw both strong organic growth and contributions from a recent acquisition.

Real Mex Approves Sale to Debt Holders

Real Mex Restaurants Inc., the bankrupt operator of the El Torito, Chevys and Acapulco chains, announced that its board has approved the company’s sale to a group of debt holders that includes Tennenbaum Capital Partners of Santa Monica.

Tuesday, February 7

Mixed Quarter at Disney

Walt Disney Co.’s profit rose 12 percent in its fiscal first quarter on lower costs, but revenue fell short of Wall Street forecasts as film revenue declined.

New York Firm to Merge with LAC Group

LAC Group, a Los Angeles company specializing in global information management and professional services recruitment, announced a merger with Chase Cost Management, a New York services firm.

MGM Gains Credit Facility

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Inc. has closed a $500 million revolving credit facility with a syndicate of banks.

D3Publisher Signs DreamWorks Video Game Deal

D3Publisher, a Los Angeles developer of video games, has signed an agreement with Glendale’s DreamWorks Animation SKG to create products based on DreamWorks’ films.

Monday, February 6

Mercury General Swings to Profit

Mercury General Corp. moved to a profit in the fourth quarter as the homeowner and auto insurance company said its revenue grew more than expected and losses were less.

American Apparel Shows Sales Growth in January

American Apparel Inc.'s year-to-year total apparel sales jumped 14 percent in January, marking the fourth straight month of improvement for the struggling company.

J2 Global Makes Another 'Cloud' Services Acquisition

J2 Global Inc. has acquired Landslide Technologies Inc., a Boston provider of online customer relationship management services for small to mid-sized businesses.

Origin Oil’s Green Gold

In this photo essay, the Business Journal turns its spotlight on the lab where OriginOil hopes to plant algae as an oil alternative.

In a State of Denial About Pot?

OPED: City of L.A.’s ordinance to limit the number of marijuana dispensaries conflicts with state Constitution.

L.A. city’s ordinance to snuff out pot shops conflicts with the state Constitution, according to Ralph B. Saltsman, Stephen Warren Solomon and Stephen Allen Jamieson.

Regional Reports

Regional Reports

California’s Chemical Regulation Sends Wrong Signal


Wayne Lusvardi thinks another restrictive rule on California drinking water may tap out industries.

Calendar & Events


PR Vet Has Something to Say in Playa del Rey

REAL ESTATE: Kimberly Macy to break ground on $6 million office project.

The first new office project in Playa del Rey in 20 years is about to break ground.

Safe Harbor

Port’s new cargo plan won’t move all tenants

Terminal Island boat repair shop looks to drop anchor on long-term lease after L.A. port scales back plan for cargo terminals.

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In Charge

Philip Murtaugh draws on his years in the American auto industry to steer a new electric sedan in the U.S. marketplace.

U.S. auto industry vet Philip Murtaugh now makes selling electric cars his current focus.

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Site Name Broker Preparing for Suffix Explosion

Buyers seeking multiple domains means a boom in the sales business.

Domain name brokers foresee more sales from helping customers get a handle on new site suffixes.

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County’s Big Hotels Check Into Tourism Districts

Special organizations raise money for marketing, advertising.

L.A. hotels put out the welcome mat for promotional business districts.

Surrogacy Coverage Fathers Heated Competition

Brokerages have due date in court over allegedly stolen products.

Coverage for surrogate pregnancies has given birth to a heated rivalry and legal battle between two local firms.

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Taking Forms

C-Preme’s helmets shaped like animals spur line of lifestyle products.

Sales are heading up for C-Preme’s helmets shaped like animals.

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Managed Care Provider Earns Clean Bill of Health

Molina sees Obamacare reform further boosting growth.

Investors’ positive prognosis for managed care provider Molina has sent stock soaring.

FDIC Boots Founder Off Board, Imposes Industry Ban

Real estate mogul David Lee cited for loan to wife.

FDIC takes rare step and removes founder David Lee from Premier Bank’s board and bans him from the industry.

YouTube Gets Creatives in Los Angeles

Media companies vie for piece of production pie.

Media companies channel new content to score some of YouTube’s new production budget.

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L.A. Employers Tell State to Lay Off With Unemployment Tax

Local employers fear spike in unemployment insurance will only work to kill jobs and growth.

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Maker of Seeds for Ethanol Hopes IPO Takes Root

Ceres looks to raise $132 million with shares in $21-$23 range.

Ceres hopes its seeds for ethanol production sow a bountiful IPO.

Positively No Risk Involved

Former quadriplegic’s attitude is heart of gift card auction site.

Gift card auction site relies on former quadriplegic Barry Shore’s winning attitude.

Taking His Seat at The Table

Harry Morton follows granddad, dad into restaurant industry.

Harry Morton has a full plate in living up to his family’s restaurateur reputation.

When Solar Loses Shine

Auctioneer heats up with equipment from shuttered power plants.

Equipment from shuttered solar plants has brightened business for auction house Great American.

Supercharged for Speedy Edge


About 20 years ago, attorney Tim Lappen fell in with a group of motorcycle enthusiasts who went on long rides together.

Conventional, Creative Boosts


Charles Crumpley calls on the City Council not to drop the ball on AEG’s plan for an NFL stadium and revamped Convention Center.

Chinese Deals Add Depth to 3-D Projection Firm

MEDIA & ENTERTAINMENT: RealD rolls to net income of $2.8 million; analysts expected loss.

After announcing multiple deals with Chinese cinema exhibitors last year, Beverly Hills’ RealD Inc. reported a surprise profit Feb. 1, suggesting there was more than just hype to the overseas agreements.

Agency Looks to Score Monster Hit With Toy Line

ADVERTISING & PR: West L.A.’s Bender/Helper to market Monsuno for Jakks.

Malibu toy maker Jakks Pacific has hired Bender/Helper Impact as its PR agency for the launch of Monsuno, a new line of toy fantasy animals similar to Pokemon.

Bank Transfer Day Paying Dividends for Founder

BANKING & FINANCE: Activist in demand as social media strategist, public speaker.

Bank Transfer Day may have come and gone, but for Kristen Christian, the L.A. business owner who started the nationwide campaign, the movement hasn’t stopped.

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Digital Projection Business Likes Look of Distribution

Cinedigm hopes to beef up revenues beyond movie theater conversions.

Digital projection company Cinedigm looks to get out of the booth and into movie distribution.

Friday, February 3

Patricia Disney, Ex-Wife of Roy Disney, Dies

Patricia Ann Disney, a San Fernando Valley philanthropist and former wife of the late Roy Disney, died Friday at her Toluca Lake home. She was 77.

Solid Quarter for Macerich

Macerich Co. said its earnings jumped in the fourth quarter, with funds from operations up 9 percent, as the shopping mall owner saw growth in rents and a decline in operating expenses.

The Week’s Big Movers

The Business Journal’s index of largest local public companies rose sharply for the week as investors reacted to a better-than-expected national jobs report.

Health Net Profit Drops on Lower Government Revenue

Health Net Inc. said its fourth quarter net income fell 25 percent, in part due to terms of its new contract with the U.S. military's TriCare health program. Adjusted results were above Wall Street expectations.

Leads360 Secures $15 Million in Venture Funding

Leads360, a Los Angeles company that helps businesses better follow up on sales leads, has completed a $15 million Series B fund-raising round led by Volition Capital.

Thursday, February 2

THQ’s Quarter Disappoints, Reorganization Planned

Shares of THQ Inc. dropped 25 percent in after-hours trading on Thursday after the video game maker reported a larger-than-expected fiscal third-quarter loss. The company earlier announced a reorganization that will cut more than 17 percent of its workforce and have its chief executive take a significant pay cut.

Response Genetics Makes Private Placement

Shares of Response Genetics jumped by a third on Thursday after announcing it had raised $7.8 million in a private placement.

Higher Costs Hurt Aecom’s Profit

Aecom Technology Corp. said its fiscal first-quarter net income dropped 16 percent, despite solid revenue growth, as higher costs reduced profits. The earnings were lower than analyst forecasts, but revenue surpassed expectations.

Tetra Tech’s Quarter Beats Analysts’ Expectations

Tetra Tech Inc. said its net income rose only 1 percent in its fiscal first quarter, but both profit and revenue were above Wall Street forecasts.

Wednesday, February 1

Kodak Wants Out of Hollywood Theater

Eastman Kodak Co. said in a new federal bankruptcy filing that it wants to end its naming rights deal for the 3,400-seat Hollywood theater that has hosted the Academy Awards for nearly 10 years.

Governor Brown Forms Board to Dismantle L.A.’s CRA

Gov. Jerry Brown has created a special three-member governing board that will be responsible for dissolving the Community Redevelopment Agency of Los Angeles.

Grandpoint Capital to Acquire Arizona Bank

Grandpoint Capital Inc. and Bank Capital Corp., the parent of Biltmore Bank of Arizona, said they have signed a definitive merger agreement.

Reliance Steel to Acquire Wisconsin Company

Reliance Steel & Aluminum Co. said that a subsidiary will acquire McKey Perforating Co. Inc., a metal perforating and fabricating company in Berlin, Wis.

Mattel Inc. Completes HIT Acquisition

Mattel Inc. has completed its $680 million acquisition of HIT Entertainment, which owns the “Thomas & Friends” franchise. The seller is a consortium of funds led by Apax Partners.